Announcing UNCSA’s 2019-20 performance season

Promising a year full of breathtaking dance, music, theater, opera, film and multi-media productions, UNCSA announces its 2019-20 performance season.

“This year, our young artists will present a dynamic season that spans the entire arts and entertainment spectrum,” said Interim Chancellor Brian Cole. “I am endlessly inspired by the power, talent and dedication of the students and faculty of this unique institution. This collaborative and creative ecosystem supports the future of the arts by empowering the next generation to transcend the boundaries of artistic innovation. Our performance season is the best way to experience that talent and creativity in action.”

Cole said the season offers “spectacular, professional-level art and entertainment right here in Winston-Salem.”

Xian Zhang conducts the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra onn Saturday, Sept. 28

Xian Zhang conducts the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, Sept. 28.

The season’s calendar includes hundreds of performances by celebrated guest artists, distinguished faculty artists, and talented students.

Highlights of the fall semester include:

  • The School of Filmmaking presents a free screening of student films on Sept. 20, a curated collection of films created by second-, third- and fourth-year students during the last academic year, featuring local casts and Triad locations.

  • As previously announced, guest conductors for the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra include Xian Zhang (Sept. 28), the first woman to serve as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as well as a major Italian orchestra, Verdi Orchestra of Milan, and former associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic; and Mark Gibson (Nov. 23) of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and visiting faculty at two international conservatories. The September concert features Rimsky Korsakov’s beloved “Scheherazade.” Peter Smith, winner of the 2019 UNCSA Concerto Competition, will perform Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor. In November, the orchestra will perform Gustav Mahler’s epic “First Symphony” and the 21st-century work "Peregrinos" (Pilgrims) by Gabriela Lena Frank, inspired by the thriving and quickly growing Latino residency in Indianapolis, where the composer was a two-year resident with the symphony.

Sphinx Virtuosi performs at UNCSA on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Sphinx Virtuosi performs at UNCSA on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

  • Sphinx Virtuosi (Oct. 1) and Eighth Blackbird (Oct. 5) are among the acclaimed chamber ensembles who will perform. Sphinx Virtuosi, one of the nation's most dynamic professional chamber orchestras, is composed of 18 of the nation's top Black and Latinx classical soloists, the alumni of the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition who come together each fall as cultural ambassadors to reach new audiences. Award-winning, Chicago-based Eighth Blackbird has been called “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” by the Chicago Tribune. Eighth Blackbird is known as a catalyst for innovation in the new music ecosystem.
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Oct. 3-6) by William Shakespeare will be directed by Drama faculty member Cameron Knight. With a modern version of the symbolic forest as the backdrop, Knight celebrates the Bard’s beloved language made relevant for today’s audience. The reimagined comedy explores magic, optical illusion and other impacts on the senses. Mischief is in the air as Puck’s magic flower upturns many more lives than intended. Four young Athenians try to find their soulmates and end up in a lovers’ tangle in this lighthearted romp.
  • “Spring Awakening” (Nov. 14-17 and 21-24) is a powerful coming-of-age story played out in an electrifying fusion of adolescence and rock ’n’ roll. Adapted from the German play by Frank Wedekind with book and lyrics by Steven Sater and score by Duncan Sheik, the musical will be guest directed by Gary Griffin. Winner of eight Tony Awards, “Spring Awakening” is a landmark musical that has left an emotional impact on audiences around the world. Young teenagers Wendla, Melchior and Moritz rely on one another to navigate the rocky path of their sexuality and mortality. Recommended for mature audiences.
Karin Hendrickson will conduct "The Nutcracker" in December.

Karin Hendrickson, who conducted the September 2018 production of Leonard Bernstein's "Mass," returns to conduct "The Nutcracker."

  • “The Nutcracker” (Dec. 13-15 and 18-22), hailed as “nothing short of perfection” by Classical Voice of North Carolina, and “a feast for the eyes and ears from start to finish” by the Winston-Salem Journal, the annual holiday spectacular features the return of celebrated guest conductor Karin Hendrickson, who delighted audiences during the fall 2018 production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass.” The Nutcracker Orchestra performs Tchaikovsy’s enthralling score, with original staging by former Dean of Dance Ethan Stiefel and lush scenery by the School of Design and Production. Assistant Dean of Dance Jared Redick directs the production, which offers additional family-friendly matinee performances this year. (Tickets to "the Nutcracker" will go on sale Saturday, Sept. 28.)
  • In addition to supporting Dance, Drama and Fletcher Opera productions throughout the year with story-advancing scenery, props, costumes, wigs and makeup, sound and lighting, the School of Design and Production will present Photona, its ever-popular themed multimedia show of lighting and projections, on Dec. 20.

Performance highlights during the spring semester 2020 include:

  •  Inaugural performance of the Reynolda Quartet on Feb. 1 at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art. An exciting new collaboration from two of the Triad’s leading cultural institutions, Reynolda Quartet is led by internationally renowned violinist Ida Bieler and includes violist Ulrich Eichenauer, violinist Janet Orenstein, and cellist Brooks Whitehouse, all colleagues on the UNCSA School of Music faculty.

Fletcher Opera Institute will present "La Clemenza di Tito" Feb. 7, 9 and 11, 2020

Fletcher Opera Institute's "Werther," February 2018. Steven LaCosse directs "La Clemenza di Tito" in February 2019. / Photo: Peter Mueller

  • Mozart’s take on opera seria, the style of serious Italian opera, “La Clemenza di Tito” will be performed Feb. 7, 9, and 11. Emperor Tito wants Servilia to be his bride, but when she tells him that she’s in love with another, he chooses to wed Vitellia, daughter of the deposed emperor. But Vitellia, unaware of Tito’s marriage plan, is plotting to kill him to avenge her father. A riot ensues, Rome is engulfed in flames, and the emperor is believed to be lost. With an Italian libretto by Caterino Mazzolà after Pietro Metastasio, the two-act opera will be directed by Steven LaCosse, managing director of the Fletcher Opera Institute at UNCSA.
  • New York Alumni Quintet (March 17) includes four UNCSA alumni – including three members of the New York Philharmonic string section, performing faculty member Kenneth Frazelle’s “Elegy for Strings,” avant-garde composer Carlos Chàvez’s Quartet No. 2 and Dvořák’s exuberant Quintet Op. 77. Alumni Lisa Kim, violin, Rion Wentworth, double bass, and Ru-Pei Yeh, cello, are members of the New York Philharmonic, one of the world’s greatest orchestras. They are joined by alumna Naho Tsutsui-Parrini, viola, of the Bloomingdale School of Music, and the Philharmonic’s Leah Ferguson, viola.
  • “The Odyssey” (March 26-29 and April 2-4) Fourth-year directing student Carlo Feliciani Ojeda breathes new life into Homer’s epic poem, adapted by Mary Zimmerman. Victorious during the Trojan War, Greek hero Odysseus returns home to his faithful wife, Penelope, and brave son, Telemachus, intent on retaking the throne of Ithaca amidst insurmountable odds and obstacles including mystical creatures and the wrath of the gods. Universal themes of loyalty, hospitality and vengeance resound centuries after the legend was penned. Performed by Studio 4, the graduating class of the School of Drama.
"Concerto Barocco" was performed during Spring Dance 2019.

Spring Dance 2020 will feature a brilliant collaboration between the schools of Dance, Music and Design & Production. / Photo: Winter Dance 2019 by Rosalie O'Connor

  • Guest conductor Michael Butterman leads the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra on March 28, with guest artists Jamie Laredo, violin, and Sharon Robinson, cello, (also an alumna) of the famed Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio joining the students in a performance of a new consortium commission by Chris Brubeck. Butterman has been music director for three U.S. orchestras and the principal conductor for engagement and community outreach for a fourth.
  • Emmy Award-nominated faculty member Andy Paris directs a work of devised theater (April 16-19), the groundbreaking genre introduced to local audiences last April with alumna and faculty member Mollye Maxner’s “Still Life With Rocket.” Together, actors, designers and theater technicians develop the plot, script and characters for a captivating, always-new audience experience.
  • Spring Dance (April 23-26) The featured performance for UNCSA’s annual NextNow scholarship fundraiser, Spring Dance is a brilliant collaboration between the schools of Dance, Music and Design & Production (D&P). Under the baton of faculty member Mark Norman, the Symphony Orchestra will provide live music for each of the pieces, which include George Balanchine’s classic ballet “Symphonie Concertante,” set to Mozart’s work of the same name; Associate Dean Brenda Daniels’ new duet to Joaquin Rodrigo’s exquisite Adagio from “Concierto de Aranjuez”; Merce Cunningham’s quirky and intriguing “Travelogue,” set to John Cage’s “Telephones and Birds,” with original scenic design by Robert Rauschenberg that will be recreated by D&P; and a brand new reimagining of “The Seven Deadly Sins” choreographed by guest artist Gina Patterson, with a new score by composer Jordan Hamlin and scenery by D&P faculty and students.

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August 21, 2019